When new state legislative maps go into effect next year, most Daytonians will be represented in the Ohio Senate by Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, whom they didn’t vote for and won’t get a chance to for at least two years.
This is because most of the city of Dayton was transferred to Antani’s district from that of state Sen. Stephen Huffman, R-Tipp City. Antani was elected in 2020 so isn’t on the ballot until 2024.
Huffman was elected in 2018 to a Republican-leaning 5th District that took in Miami, Preble and southern Darke counties, as well as western and central Montgomery County. His new 5th District still includes western Montgomery County and now more of the northern part of the county. Huffman is unchallenged in his bid for re-election this year.
Antani’s 6th Senate District lost the northern part of the county, including Vandalia and Englewood, and picked up much more of Dayton. This flipped the district to now leaning Democratic. Antani is a staunch conservative.
“The federal court instituted a map for one election cycle only,” Antani said. “I will represent my district as I always have, conscientiously, and will be continue to be accessible to all of my constituents.”
Senate terms are four years long and not all districts are up for election on redistricting years. So it’s a typical quirk in legislative redistricting years for some areas to get a new senator who isn’t on the ballot until the next election.
But what’s unusual here is that the map will be redrawn again before the 2024 election. If the Ohio Redistricting Commission moves Dayton back into an odd-numbered district not up for re-election in 2024, then Daytonians could go eight years without getting to vote for state senate.
“The major city in Montgomery County has been disenfranchised from having a voice for who their state senators are,” said Rhine McLin, former Dayton mayor and state lawmaker who now is chairwoman of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
Old and new Ohio Senate maps (Partisan lean source: Dave’s Redistricting)